Rights groups give Obama surveillance to-do list

Rights groups give Obama surveillance to-do list
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Thirty civil liberty and activist groups on Monday unveiled a to-do list for President Obama to complete before he leaves office in January, warning that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE will dangerously expand U.S. spying powers.

In a letter, organizations including Demand Progress, Credo, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and FreedomWorks listed 11 areas in which the president could act before his term ends.

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“On your first day in office, you embraced the goals of ensuring the public’s trust and strengthening our democracy in a memorandum on transparency and open government,” the organizations wrote to Obama. “As your administration winds down and our democracy faces strong headwinds, we urge you to take the following important steps to empower citizens, Congress and the courts to protect our system of separated powers and make sure that our government continues working as the founders intended.”

Among other measures, the groups called for releasing several opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel as well as inspector general reports. They also want to see information about the number of Americans subject to data collection targeting foreigners and guidance about when the government can shield the use of investigative techniques while presenting evidence to a court.

The organizations also said that Obama should have people throughout his administration read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s full 6,700-page report about the CIA's use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration, which are widely criticized as torture. Though the Senate panel released the report to agencies throughout government, several have refused to open their copy of the report. The organizations claimed that the report’s table of contents should be made public, even if the full report itself cannot be. 

Trump’s election earlier this month has worried rights groups, who point to the president-elect’s plans to monitor mosques, bar Muslims from entering the country and other proposals as gross violations of civil liberties.